Oregon Forage Seed Production Tour

Eastern Oregon produces over 90% of the cool season grass seed used in the U.S. and a substantial amount of worldwide production. The Oregon Grass and Clover Commissions hosted a group of forage and cover crop specialists from the eastern U.S. on a 3 day tour May 22-24. The group saw forage seed fields of tall fescue, orchardgrass, annual and perennial ryegrass, white clover, red clover, crimson clover, and balansa clover.  We also saw unique crops including turnip, radish, mustard, forage chicory, and even a high value crop called meadowfoam that is used for cosmetics. We learned that Oregon growers are highly specialized with tremendous attention to detail. This results in high quality seed with minimal weed contaminants. The price we pay for quality forage seed in the east is a good value when you realize all that goes into producing a high quality seed crop. We also learned that the recent increases in orchardgrass seed price is because of significant production issues in Oregon including a new hard to control disease called choke.  ~ Ray Smith